Fathers Day is fast approaching -- this year it's the 21st of June. I imagine that all over the country, department store associates are stocking the men's section of the store with socks and ties, thinking that family members (you guys) will go blasting in there to snap those items up.
Yeah; don't do that. Your dad's a big boy; he can get a new tie or socks by himself. Try something new and different. It takes only a little effort to find a great gift for your dad. It needn't be much; mostly what he wants is some recognition of the fact that he tried to do his best and keep you out of big trouble!
Head on to the next part for some do's and don'ts, and gift suggestions for your dad.
Consider your dad's likes, hobbies, and daily activities to get an idea of what would be a great gift for him. Does he like to fish? How about work in the yard or cook out? Does he have an old car that he tinkers with, or perhaps likes to get in his daily exercise? Maybe traveling or carpentry is his fun thing. Any gift that makes these activities easier or more enjoyable would be a perfect choice for Fathers Day.
First off, a couple things: Gag gifts; one word -- don't. Ever. Ever. Gag gifts are fine for birthdays or family reunions, but a Fathers Day gift should be a touch personal. Fathers Day is one that has a lot of meaning to most dads. (Would you give a gag gift to your mom on Mothers Day? Didn't think so.)
Another "don't." Barring geographical constraints, don't have your dad mark his special day by seeing the delivery guy show up on the porch with a box of candy or walnuts or whatever (with a computer-generated card inside) from a mass-mailing company. Tacky. You're better off to just take the time to send him a nice card or call him.
Don't give him a "bus-driver's holiday" gift. If he spends his entire day inside, writing code for computer programs, it's unlikely that he will enjoy a Father's Day gift that even smacks of a computer; so a new mouse pad (wow!), download subscription to a work-related program, or a monster package of printer cartridges will leave him cold. An exception might be, for example, if he has been complaining about having to squint all day at a small monitor, well, eureka, a bigger screen will make him a happy camper.
Here are some gifts that will get you thinking about what your own dad would really appreciate.
If he's into outdoor grilling, how about a wireless barbecue thermometer, so he can pay attention to the fun around him and not worry that he'll turn the beef into briquettes? You set the temperature you want, stick the probe into the meat and a handy pager beeps you when the set-point is reached. How cool is that ? (Referring to the gadget, not the temp of the meat.)
If your dad loves gadgets, here's one for him -- a multi-function, IPod dockable, am/fm radio, with snooze and nap alarms, "white noise" background noise-suppression, and a remote. That item has enough controls and buttons to keep a guy happy the entire Fathers Day.
A lot of dads are car guys, so how about a turn around the track, for Fathers Day, at the Skip Barber Racing School? Or a nifty tool kit that will handle not only the garage work, but pretty much any problem in the home? Or, one of my favorite tools, a low-profile hydraulic jack; put one in combination with a pair of jack stands, and you're good to go for just about any problem under the chassis.
If your dad's a craftsman, don't give him something that is ready to go right out of the box -- he'll enjoy putting the gift together; many guys don't break out in a cold sweat when confronted with "some assembly required." A good example is a customizable work bench. Your dad will really enjoy spending the time and effort putting his own stamp on a project like this. It can't be better than that.
If your dad has his tools laid out all over the work bench, why not get him a tool chest? There's nothing better than having all your stuff in one place, instead of scattered from hither to yon. Many's the time I've been glad I had a nice tool crib. A really happy dad would have a job-site tool bag also.
A chest, like this one, can be easily stuck in one corner of the bench and won't interfere with the remaining work space. Good stuff and a great Fathers Day gift. (Don't buy the tool chest until you scope out his tool assortment and determine the correct size to hold a good share of his stuff.)
Other carpentry tools that any dad would like are a Dremel power tool kit, a cordless jig saw, or a tool pouch. Also consider a mini circular saw, a combination of light weight and the ability to get into tight places.
Garages or shops are pretty much always a mess, what with grass clippings, wood shavings, or sawdust. A shop vacuum makes it easy to conveniently clean this sort of trash up. You can get all sorts of options to help with the mess and it's a lot easier than using the broom that really belongs in the garbage can.
Waders make a great Fathers Day gift for your favorite dad. If he likes to get off the shoreline and out on the water, how about a fishing kayak? Or a larger craft, so that he can take you with him, the next time he heads out on the water? How fun would that be, to share in your dad's new gift? The most fun for your dad is, certainly, having you with him.
One more neat gift, for Fathers Day, is a fisherman's hat; lightweight, with a wide brim for sun protection, this is just the thing for a day on the water. And please; for Fathers Day, no $3 hat that says " A bad day fishing is better than a good day at the (fill in the blank.)"
If your dad likes the outdoors for exercise, he might enjoy, for Fathers Day, a runners watch, with heart-rate monitor and downloadable GPS function. Or, take a look at light-weight, moisture-control shorts that will improve his time and reduce his fatigue. New running shoes may improve your dad's stride, and reduce his foot and leg stress.
If your dad likes to travel, a great idea for Fathers Day might be a GPS for his car. Once he arrives at his destination, he might like to hike the great outdoors with a hand-held model, to keep him on track and out of trouble. If he's into back-packing he might like a new, lightweight tent or a small-cube backpack. Don't try to pick this kind of gear out, long distance. If possible, take him shopping so he can be correctly outfitted.
Another great gift, if your dad likes long, cross-country trips (you remember them fondly, I'm sure) and likes to pack in a lot of miles during the day, is a driver's lumbar support.
At the end of the day, what your dad really wants is for you to give him a big hug and to tell him that you love him and are thankful for all that he has done for you. It really is true -- it's the thought that counts.
If that doesn't quite get it for your dad, well, um, there's always the tie and socks.